MonetDBLite as a Python Package
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MonetDBLite for Python

MonetDBLite is a serverless SQL database that runs inside of your Python process and does not require the installation of any external software. MonetDBLite is based on free and open-source MonetDB, a product of the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica.

MonetDBLite for Python requires numpy to be installed.


  • The latest released version can be downloaded using pip.

pip install monetdblite

  • The latest development version can be downloaded by cloning this github repository, and running the setup script:
git clone
python install

If you encounter a bug, please file a minimal reproducible example on github. For questions and other discussion, please use stack overflow with the tag monetdblite. The development version of MonetDBLite endures sisyphean perpetual testing on both unix and windows machines.


To initialize monetdblite, run the monetdblite.init command with a directory name. The directory name is where the data in the database is stored. Use an empty folder to create a new database, or an existing folder to load an old database.

import monetdblite

Retrieving Data

After the database is successfully initialized, the database can be queried using SQL with the following syntax.

monetdblite.sql('SELECT * FROM tables')

The return value of this function is the result of the query encoded as a dictionary of NumPy masked arrays, where the keys are the column names and the values are the actual values. The result can be converted to a Pandas DataFrame using the pandas.DataFrame.from_dict function.

Inserting Data

New tables can be created using the monetdblite.create command. The command takes a table name and a dictionary of NumPy arrays to insert into the database. Each column has to be the same length.

# create the integers table with a single column (i)
# and insert 100 values into the column
monetdblite.create('integers', {'i': numpy.arange(100)})
# retrieve the column again
monetdblite.sql('SELECT * FROM integers')

In the same way, data can be inserted using the monetdblite.insert command.

# insert 100 values into the table 'integers' that we created in the previous example
monetdblite.insert('integers', {'i': numpy.arange(100)})

Changes made to the database will automatically be written to disk as they are made, unless they are wrapped in a transaction.


Only a single monetdblite instance can be active within your Python process. It is however possible to shutdown the currently running monetdblite instance and relaunch it using a different directory. This can be done using the monetdblite.shutdown command.

# shutdown the currently running monetdblite instance
# initialize monetdblite again with a different database

Multiple Clients

By default, monetdblite uses a single client for each query. A single client can only run a single query at a time within a single transaction. It is possible to separate queries with different clients, allowing you to run multiple queries and transactions in parallel.

First, a client must be created with the monetdblite.connect command. The client can then be passed to subsequent queries using the optional client parameter.

# create a new client connection
conn = monetdblite.connect()
# use the connection in a query
monetdblite.sql('SELECT * FROM table', client = conn)
# close the connection
del conn